House Democratic Caucus Retreat Closing Press Conference CSPAN April 12, 2019 5:51pm-6:22pm EDT
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following the conclusion of their group retreat in leesburg, virginia. they talk about their performance in the first 100 days in their party's majority in the house and the upcoming legislative agenda. this is about half an hour. speaker pelosi: good morning. >> good morning. we have just concluded the house democratic caucus chair issues conference. 100 days in, fighting for the people. we are unified, we are driven, we are committed to execute like a laser beam our for the people
agenda on behalf of every day americans. house democrats wake up each day to fight for working families, middle-class folks, and senior citizens. house democrats wake up each and every day to fight for the poor, the sick, and the afflicted. house democrats wake up each and every day to fight for the lost and the left behind. house democrats wake up each and every day to fight for veterans, people in urban america, suburban america, and rural america. house democrats are committed to fight for the people. that is what we have discussed over the last few days. we have learned together, we have enjoyed each other's company, focused on the creativity and the energy and the brilliance and the drive to collectively get things done for the people.
we have had a successful 100 days. we are forward to an even more successful second 100 days as we continue our journey fighting for the people. let me yield now to our very distinguished vice chair of the house democratic caucus from the commonwealth of massachusetts, katherine clark. rep. clark: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all, all of my colleagues for being here. i am proud to report that 100 days into this new majority, the caucus is strong, we are focused, we are unified, i am getting things done for the american people. and to putting those foundations of our for the people agenda ahead of us. and to work, to make sure that we are putting those issues that people talk about around their kitchen tables back on the front burner of congress.
already what we have done with hr one, protecting voting rights, getting corruption out of politics, commonsense measures to end gun violence in this country, ensuring that women are paid equally for equal work, protecting those with pre-existing conditions, and that is just some of what we have already done in this caucus in this majority for the people. we are excited and energized to go to our districts and be back at work. hearing from them, to inform our work when we come back at the end of april. and the key to delivering our for the people agenda is the work of the dpcc. i am proud to call up our chairman, david cicilline, and grateful that ted lieu and debbie dingell are here representing the dpcc as well.
>> thank you, madam vice chair. i'm am delighted to be here on behalf of my cochairs. matt cut right, debbie dingell, and ted lieu. to first say to our chairman and vice chair, thank you for an extraordinary issues conference. thank you, madam speaker, for bringing us together for a serious issues conference. i think i have been to every one of them in the last eight years. this was the best and the most exciting because we really had an opportunity to reflect on the work we have done in the first 100 days, which i daresay is more than done in the last eight years for the american people. ranging on the issues we identified after listening carefully to the american people about their priorities. driving down health-care costs, driving down the cost of prescription drugs, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, raising family incomes with a focus on rebuilding the country with a bold infrastructure plan, and taking on the corruption in washington and getting the government working for the people again. when you look at the list, it is extraordinary of the accomplishments of the first 100 days. we had an opportunity to reflect
on that, learn from each other, develop a cohesive force so we can build on this momentum and get the work done that lies ahead. this was an inspiring gathering. we are leaving here reenergized, determined to continue to deliver on the issues that matter most to the american people. with that, i have the extraordinary privilege of introducing the distinguished lady from the state of illinois, lauren underwood. rep. underwood: i'm pleased to be with you here today. we made it through our first 100 days. my freshman colleagues and i have been focused on our constituents. being responsive, accountable to them, being accessible. we have had over 100 town halls collectively, closed out casework, and tackled correspondence. we are showing up for our communities and we are having their backs in washington. when we say we are working for the people, we are working every day to lower health care costs, seriously. day one, we voted to defend the affordable care act in a case
that threatens to strip away pre-existing condition protections. we proposed bills and had hearings in regular order to expand tax credits and lowering premium prices for consumers and stabilizing the marketplace. we are focused on lowering drug prices from hearings on price spikes for insulin, bills addressing competition, and driving innovation. and many exciting proposals to expand coverage. house democrats are united in our mission to improve quality and lower health care costs for the american people. we are holding the administration accountable for their efforts to take away coverage. we're making great progress and just getting started. i would like to bring up dean phillips from minnesota. rep. phillips: what a great couple days. we did reflecting, we dwelled in possibilities, and most importantly, this caucus became a family. a family of diversity from all around the country, different races, religions, professional backgrounds, and political perspectives.
we did the thing that i want to invite the entire country to start doing, and that is spend time together. invite one another to conversation and reflection. we have to start talking more and tweeting a little bit less. that's what we did. it was just two days, but it was a darn good beginning. we are family indeed and we are just getting started. a aout them i am on her to tura thank you. good morning. you have heard all of the great deeds, 100 days, a lot of accomplishments. i want you to think of the people behind this accomplishment, not those of us who are here to get it done, but how it impacts all of the people that are represented in every one of these bills. the mother who can't have enough food to put on the table for her children, the seniors who may not have enough money to be able to pay for their medicines because of the high drug prices,
the workers who don't have a living wage. every one of these bills is not just words, able it represents families that are going to be directly impacted. no matter whether it is my district or underwood's district or dean phillips district or any of the districts throughout the country, all of us together, out of many, we are one. [speaking spanish] no matter what language, city, state across this country, working families will benefit from all of this work. it represents families that are going to be directly impacted. for me, being here it as a freshman, it is 100 days, but frankly, some days it felt like 100 months. but it is good to see the list because now i feel like we may have gone through the shutdown, we may have gone through tough times, for me it is not my first rodeo, i have been in leadership positions in the state senate in texas. but i have always been in the minority. so it has been
great to be here. it has been exciting. i look forward to come back. i look forward to working with you, madam speaker, for the next 100 days and the many more days to come. because i know the best is yet to come, particularly under your leadership in with that, i yielded to our speaker, nancy pelosi. [applause] speaker pelosi: i was so enjoying and being inspired by our speakers, i did not realize i was next. i want to join all of our colleagues in the room and conference room in here who have saluted thefor me, being here leadership of our chairman, hakeem jeffries, and katherine clark for bringing us together in a very substantive unifying, energizing way of this conference. really a series of
workshops where we engaged with each other. and again, for the people. it is nice to be in the majority because of what it means to the electorate. what it means for the people. and for the majority, majority, majority, for the people means lower health care costs by reducing the cost of prescription drugs and saving the pre-existing condition method of the majority. for the people means building the infrastructure of america and making bigger paychecks, lower health costs. the majority for the people means cleaner government. we talked about those issues and how we can be more specific in terms of legislation, more effective in terms of connecting with the american people on all of those scores because the outside mobilization is what gives us hope. 10,000 events to save the affordable care act in the last term of office when the assaults
were made to eliminate the affordable care act. we are one to fight it in the court, we are fighting it in congress, fight it in the court of public opinion as well. hallelujah. it was a cause for celebration. celebration for what it means in the lives of the american people. we are all fond of using temporal markers, we reference them whether it was act in the last lincoln "four score and several years ago," whether it was our founders, and our founders also said "the times have found us." and the times have found us now. got to put ourselves in the category of the greatness of our founders or lincoln with his temporal markers, but the times have found us because of the urgency of the challenge we have. our meeting was closed by comment from our distinguished inspiration, a person that some of us call colleague, some of us call friend, john lewis. we must save our values and save our democracy, was how he closed our session. we see that as our response ability. again, i think
our distinguished chair and vice chair. we had a great -- i also want to acknowledgment who has not spoken, tom malinowski from new jersey, ted lieu was acknowledged already as lincoln "four score and several years the pbmc, sheila jackson lee from texas, and hank johnson from georgia. very distinguished member of -- all members going for the bus now. we left again saying what we always say, our diversity is our strength. our unity is our power. as our founders directed. with that, i yieldspeaker, mr. jeffries. >> thank you madam speaker. any questions? >> my question is for speaker pelosi. we just ran a story saying that the white house put pressure on ice to try to release undocumented migrants into democratic systems as political retribution during the
shutdown standoff. would you comment? >> i do not know anything about it, but again, it is another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the united states and the disrespect for the challenges we face as a country and people to address who we are, a nation of immigrants. what do you think about mitch mcconnell? he has been saying that he wants to make 2020 a referendum on socialism. >> why don't they make it a referendum on the positive suggestion they may have for the good of the american people? it was to reduce the role of big politics, for them, it was to
86% of the benefits of the tax bill to the top 1%. you would think they might talk about something positive for the people. let's make it a referendum for the people in terms of lowering health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. any colleagues want to weigh in? >> as somebody who came to america after my family escaped a socialistic dictatorship, if they want to come after me, if a president who is in love with a communist dictator kim jong-un, bring it on. we will run on health care and infrastructure and we will and. -- we will win. >> congresswoman omar has continued to defend her comments on 9/11. >> i have not had the opportunity to speak with her as to the nature of their comment.
i called him and before i called them out, so she was in transit. i will have to speak to her. >> back to immigration, the president does continue to talk about the situation at the border. can you outline what the democratic response is at this point? >> we have been very clear. as the president had a shut down government because he wanted billions of dollars for his wall, we sent him a bill, he did not want to sign it. he shut down government. weeks went by and in a bipartisan way, we wrote legislation that said here, this is what we are giving you for the border. we all agree we must secure our border. there is money for increased judges to
adjudicate the cases quickly. there is funding for humanitarian assistance for the people coming in, there is money for repairs for some physical necessities, and there is funding to send countries of the northern triangle to try to alleviate the problem before it reaches our shores. that is what democrats and republicans in the house and senate sent to the president which he signed. he then try to usurp the constitution of the u.s. with his initiative which 12 republicans in the senate voted in a bipartisan way to oppose the president. we all know we are supposed to secure the border. we do not need any lectures from the president on that, but we do want to work together for immigration reform and i am pleased to see that mitch mcconnell is ready to talk
about that. we have a symptom at the border that has created a humanitarian crisis which was given to the president for funds to address in a way that is consistent with our values, as a mother of five and a grandmother of nine, it is a statement of american values to not take children out of the arms of their parents. either you do not know what you are talking about are you do not know what bonding between parent and child is. what the president is doing is terribly wrong. what we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform. i am glad the majority leader in the senate, mitch mcconnell, has said orders reported that he is willing -- has said, or it is reported that he is willing to talk about it. the president realizes that has to happen and he cannot let any
of the people in the white house who do not understand the words of ronald reagan who talked about what immigration means to america. rejuvenation. i just refer you to ronald reagan's last speech as president of the u.s. about the value of newcomers to our country. once we close that door, america will fail to be preeminent in the world. >> you talk about the accomplishments, but only two of these bills on the list that are highlighted have been enacted into law, and only 12 bill since the beginning of this congress have been signed by the president. you have 170 bills that are collecting dust in the senate. >> they are not collecting dust. government was closed the first few weeks, we had to address that challenge. let me say this -- the reason we are optimistic
and hopeful is not that we can pass bills in the house, we intend to do that. to stay our purpose and honor our commitment to american people, and make advances on their behalf. but i am a big believer in public sentiment. abraham lincoln, with that you can accomplish almost anything, without it, you practically can accomplish nothing. public sentiment will weigh in, and the senate will see it is important to have legislation passing for equal work, gun safety is important to the american people, that many pieces of legislation that we have either passed or are about to pass are 70%, 80% of bipartisanly and nonpartisanly supported by the american people. they will either act upon the legislation or be accountable to the public for why they did not. i am very
proud of this list of accomplishments. we do intend -- we are not going as slow as the slowest ship, if you are suggesting that we sit back, the senate will not do anything no matter what the public thinks -- you have mistaken us for someone else. >> what you thought the prospects for bipartisanship over the next 100 days will look like? >> i think it is good. our main must pass legislation is the appropriations bill that we will pass in a bipartisan way. and in a way that is according to time, on time, and that is an accomplishment. we will do that and a bipartisan way. the
senator has now said that he wanted to talk about immigration. hopefully, it has some basis in fact. i do think there is plenty room for bipartisanship as i've said before and i will say again. the president has said that he wants to do an infrastructure bill. so do we. we are making progress as to what the parameters of that would be. the president has said that he wants to lower the cost of prescription drugs. now we are onto to two of our top priorities. lower the prescription drug cost, bigger paychecks for our country, so we have prioritized in a way that is bipartisan. that is bipartisan. i am not sure they are interested in cleaner government and lowering the role of dark, special interest money and politics, but we will leave that to the american people. as we celebrate our majority, majority, majority for the
people, lower drug prices, bigger paychecks, cleaner government, it is important to know as our distinguished chair gave us a plan for how we go forward, but we want to 43 seats , republicans in a highly gerrymandered, deeply voter suppressed arena. the american people are paying attention. american people vote at the polls. the american people will weigh in on these issues. >> as the speaker indicated, we were able to seize the majority because of public sentiment that was with us on the issues that we communicated to the american people that we would fight for anchored in lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, focus on an infrastructure plan, and cleaning up government and the corruption that exists in
washington. public sentiment is everything. the public is with us. house democrats have promised to protect americans with pre-existing conditions. we have promised to lower health care costs, focused on driving down the high cost of lifesaving prescriptions. house democrats have promised a real infrastructure plan to fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, mass transportation system, and to do it in a bipartisan way. that is what we intend to deliver. >> on the subject of health care and pre-existing conditions, no one was more articulate -- all of the things we have talked about about message, none of it is important without the quality of the candidates we have out there. lauren underwood's personal story was such a compelling one not only one her election, b -- not only won her election, but across the
country, thank you for your leadership and courage. >> this agenda that house democrats developed came from the american people. we did not just pick these priorities. these are the priorities of the american people. i think that is why the speaker's optimism is so well-placed. it cannot be the case that the senate will prevent us moving forward on the urgent priorities of the american people. we are counting on them to respond to the will of the people, and if not, face the consequences in 2020. democrats are going to continue to fight for the people and hold accountable to join our effort. >> we would rather have success in terms of them passing the bill then having a political issue at the polls. >> do you feel confident about being able to pass the
appropriations bill? the president commented on it. what is your response? >> i do not respond to the president's tweets. to me, it is unpresidential. we have serious work to do. what is his purpose, i don't know. our purpose is to get the job done for the american people, and not to inflame but to unify. if there is any message to come out of this conference, it is one of respect. respect for the decency of the american people, and the respect for meeting their needs. and to do so in a way that is not dividing, but is unifying. thank you.
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